We had just passed the traffic circle in Venice and were nearing the 3-way stop sign. A dude in a Prius was reaching the stop sign to the right about the same time. I could see the girl in the passenger seat; she had that look of “He didn’t tell me he would be in his Mom’s Prius. I hope no one sees us.”
The dude saw us approaching and it was clear that we weren’t going to stop as required by law, and the little switch in his brain flipped, as it often does with drivers who observe cyclists taking liberty with the vehicle code as it pertains to stop signs.
By the way, this switch never gets flipped by big tatted up dudes riding Harleys, only dainty fellows pedaling plastic bicycles in their underwear.
We three watched him in amusement. You could see the crazed look from a mile away and we weren’t stopping and he knew we weren’t stopping and the girl knew there was going to be a scene and tried to squeeze into her invisibility cloak.
I was in the lead and we sailed through the intersection, grinning like monkeys.
The dude in the Prius lost his shit. His face turned vermilion, he shoved his head out the window and screamed. Problem is, when you are suddenly enraged it often happens that your tongue gets all mixed up because you are thinking ten different ugly things and your brain can’t decide which one to direct to your tongue, so it turns into insult hash.
This, though, was amazing. He roared in a voice you could have heard all the way to Gardena, “BICYCLES DO NOT NEED TO APPLY!”
The force of the nonsense hit us like a bat and we erupted in howls. He jetted through the intersection, racing by us at full Prius throttle of at least 33 mph. As he passed we yelled back, “BICYCLES DO NOT NEED TO APPLY!”
The girl hung her head and he gripped the wheel and stared straight ahead, pretending that we weren’t there. Problem was, he got stuck behind several cars and there was another stop sign a few yards up, so we caught him easily.
“Hey, fucker!” I yelled. “BICYCLES DO NOT NEED TO APPLY!”
Baby Seal added, “FOR A PILOT’S LICENSE!”
Foxy chimed in, “OR FOR WELFARE ASSISTANCE!”
Then we stopped at the stop sign and began chatting gaily, loudly. “Have you applied yet today?”
“My application got rejected!”
The boy rolled up his window and so did the girl, and you know she was thinking, “That’s what I get for riding in a Prius.”
Of course this became our rallying cry for the next hour. Each time we saw a cyclist we’d yell, shaking our fists, “Bicycles do not need to apply!” People thought we were insane. “Thought.”
Then we started going up Paseo de la Playa and a woman got stuck behind us. She patiently waited two seconds, then gunned it, roaring around us. She slowed to our pace, put down her window, and it was clear the switch had been flipped with her, too.
Red face. Veins popping. Spittle about to launch. And then, the money shot: “YOU NEED A SAFETY HELPER!”
Well, after bicycles not needing to apply, needing a safety helper was about all we could stand. So we got off our bikes and fell down laughing.
Today, Mrs. WM and I were finishing up a coffee ride. We got to the three-way intersection of PV Boulevard and PV West and PV North, scooting up along the edge of traffic. A guy in a Rage Rover put down his window as we stopped, switch flipped.
“IF YOU DON’T RIDE SINGLE FILE I CAN’T LOOK OUT FOR YOU!” he screamed.
Mrs. WM and I couldn’t help it. We laughed and laughed and laughed. All the way home.
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